Sun. Sep 25th, 2022

North Korea slams UN human rights expert as ‘US puppet’

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North Korea has accused a U.N. human rights expert of serving as a “puppet” of the United States, claiming she made “reckless remarks” about the country’s system. 

The North Korean Permanent Mission to the U.N. issued a statement Friday calling U.S. efforts to improve human rights a “racket” and that it was “ridiculous” for the U.S. “to behave itself as a ‘human rights judge’” while still trying to grapple with its own issues.

“The ‘human rights’ racket of the U.S. and other hostile forces … is nothing but the most politicized hostile means for tarnishing the dignified image of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK),” it said in a statement. 

“Not long ago, the U.S. Department of State gave hearty welcome to the group of the puppet traitors’ appointment of ‘ambassador for international cooperation on North Korean human rights’ while taking issue with our ‘human rights’ situation viciously.” 

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Elizabeth Salmon, the new U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in North Korea, speaks during a news conference in Seoul, South Korea, Sept. 2, 2022. 

Elizabeth Salmon, the new U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in North Korea, speaks during a news conference in Seoul, South Korea, Sept. 2, 2022. 
(Reuters/ Heo Ran)

Elizabeth Salmon, the U.N. special rapporteur on North Korea’s human rights, made her first visit to South Korea to meet with officials, activists and North Korean defectors following her appointment last month. She said Friday she was “fully aware that the lack of cooperation in [North Korea] is a challenge, no doubts about it.” 

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North Korea asserted it had “made clear” that it would “neither recognize nor deal with any ‘special rapporteur,'” slamming Salmon for her statement in Seoul. 

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un places a flower to pay tribute to the North's soldiers killed in the Korean War and buried at the Fatherland Liberation War Martyrs Cemetery to mark the 69th anniversary of the Korean War armistice in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this photo released July 27, 2022.

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un places a flower to pay tribute to the North’s soldiers killed in the Korean War and buried at the Fatherland Liberation War Martyrs Cemetery to mark the 69th anniversary of the Korean War armistice in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this photo released July 27, 2022.
(North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency via REUTERS  )

Salmon outlined the purpose of her visit, which aimed to “meet with, speak to and learn from” victims of the DPRK’s human rights violations

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“I will assume a victims-centered approach throughout the course of my mandate,” Salmon said in her statement. “In the past decades, we have learned that it is the victims of human rights violations that must be the focus of any human rights or humanitarian endeavor.

South Korea's new President Yoon Suk Yeol waves from a car after the presidential inauguration outside the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, May 10, 2022.  

South Korea’s new President Yoon Suk Yeol waves from a car after the presidential inauguration outside the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, May 10, 2022.  
(AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

“The legitimacy and effectiveness of our work rests on this,” she added. “For my mandate, this will include providing more opportunities for the voices of victims to be heard.”

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North Korea added that it would “never pardon” the U.S. and its “vassal forces” that aim to overthrow its “social system.” 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 



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